DETROIT -- The federal government has granted $2.18 million to Detroit to improve safety and mobility across four neighborhoods, which could help the city lay some groundwork for self-driving technology infrastructure, prevent accidents and alleviate road congestion.
The Federal Highway Administration grant, which falls under the agency's Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment program, will be used to install communication and detection technology at road intersections, the agency said in a statement.
"Technology is the future of U.S. transportation. With innovation such as this, we are helping make transportation safer and more accessible for people while addressing the growing congestion problems of our nation's highway system," said Brandye Hendrickson, acting federal highway administrator.
The city is primarily looking to upgrade its traffic signals, said Mark de la Vergne, Detroit's chief of mobility innovation.
Officials are also looking to install dedicated short-range communications technology at intersections that would communicate with vehicles, and develop vehicle-to-infrastructure applications.
Based on the city's application, the city's connectivity plans will include Wi-Fi on local buses and other transit options, and an app to identify public and private transit options, highway administration spokesperson Doug Hecox said. The funds may also be used to establish a foundation for local infrastructure to support self-driving technology, and create a "mesh" network to make sure residents have access to Wi-Fi, according to Hecox
Improvements will take place in southwest Detroit and three other neighborhoods -- the Riverfront, Corktown and Livernois-McNichols. The funds are to be used to bolster current traffic capacity for commuters and enhance traveler information.
Established under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, the program funds intelligent system technologies to address priorities in the Transportation Department report, Beyond Traffic, which highlights challenges the U.S. will face over the course of the next three decades.
In this year alone, the federal highway administration said the program has awarded $54 million to fund ten projects that provide real-time traveler information for drivers, public transit, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and more.